On This Day: January 16, 2000 – Souled Out 2000: Chris Benoit’s First World Title

Souled Out 2000
Date: January 16, 2000
Location: Firstar Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
Attendance: 14,132
Commentators: Tony Schivone, Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan

The company is completely dead at this point and I think everyone not named WCW knew that. 1999 was absolutely brutal on them as they kept screwing up time after time after time and this is a great example of that. The main event changed about 5 times until it got to what we saw. First off it was Bret vs. Goldberg II but Goldberg punched the window of a limousine and messed up his hand so he was out for months.

Then it was Bret vs. Sid but since Bret had his head knocked silly by Goldberg at Starrcade and was out for about 10 years because of it they had to vacate the title. Then they were with Sid vs. Jeff Jarrett, the US Champion, as the next best thing. Well someone thought it was a good idea to have Jarrett fight three old guys on Nitro and he got a concussion too so now HE can’t be in it.

Finally they picked the #1 contender to the US Title, Chris Benoit, and put him against Sid for the world title. So in other words we have the #2 contender for the world title vs. the #1 contender for the US Title. Instead of the 2/3 falls (Triple Threat Theater as it was called here. It’s three gimmick matches) that Jarrett and Benoit were supposed to have, it’s now Billy Kidman vs. three of Benoit’s kind of stable mates in individual matches. This was a very confusing show as I’m sure you can see. Let’s get to it.

Oh and also, this is the show that got Russo fired. His original plans once he heard about all the insanity: put the title on Tank Abbot, the UFC fighter. Yeah….Russo was a bit nuts.

The announcers talk about the injuries and how more or less everyone is out. We see some clips of the injuries. It’s not a good sign when you need about four minutes of talking to explain why the majority of the card is changed tonight. We get a clip of Shane Douglas and Dean Malenko (parts of Benoit’s Revolution stable. It was Benoit/Malenko/Saturn/Douglas and a mystery guy who is revealed tonight) beating up Konnan to make the Triple Threat Theater thing happen instead of a six man tag.

We hear about Nash vs. Funk. If Nash wins he’s Commissioner and if Funk wins the NWO has to disband. Let me repeat that. The NWO existed in the year 2000.

The singles match between David Flair and Vampiro that changed into a tag title match with the champions David Flair/Crowbar vs. Vampiro/mystery man. However during the preshow, Crowbar jumped Vampiro so instead Vampiro is like screw it, I want a triple threat match instead of a title match. Uh, sure Vampy.

They run down the rest of the card and there are I think two matches without stipulations or consequences one way or another. Wow.

Ok so after six and a half minutes of explaining the show, we go to the ring. This is sad.

Billy Kidman vs. Dean Malenko

Kidman is one of the Filthy Animals and Malenko is part of the Revolution which was supposed to be a youth movement stable but it was changed into a military thing or something. This is under catch-as-catch-can which means a regular match but you can’t leave the ring.

Dean takes it to the floor quickly and the fans are loudly booing. We hear about what Kidman has to do tonight and I wonder why Douglas isn’t fighting for the Revolution tonight. LOUD booing now as Malenko keeps backing up. I have no idea if the fans know the rules here or not. Big crowd tonight too at over 14,000.

Kidman hammers away and Dean rolls to the floor, ending the match. Dean starts getting back in and I think he messed up here. This is exactly what this show didn’t need at all. Way too short to grade as it might have been two minutes long but the fans cheer for Kidman winning so uh….good? This was Dean’s last WCW match as he would debut as part of the Radicalz in 15 days.

We recap Vampiro vs. Crowbar/David Flair. Vampiro beat Crowbar on Thunder…..and that’s it. Literally the clip just stops there. Can this show do ANYTHING right?

Ah here’s the actual video package and the editing is awful. They cut to something else literally every three seconds. Daphne had been chilling with David Flair who was insane. She jumped Vamprio and his crew and then they met Crowbar at a gas station. Flair and Crowbar won the vacant tag titles because Arn Anderson helped them so Flair (Ric isn’t here so every Flair means David) hit Arn with the crowbar (object, not person). The NWO wants to kill David for costing them the titles and Vampiro’s crew wants to kill them for general purposes. Yeah it made little sense.

Vampiro says he can win this on his own and Masahiro Chono of all people pops up to yell in Japanese. I guess he was going to be the partner.

Flair, Crowbar and Daffney say they’re going to break Vampiro’s bones and rip his flesh.

David Flair vs. Vampiro vs. Crowbar

Vampiro beats them both up with relative ease. I mean they’ve got nothing. Suicide dive to the floor takes out Crowbar and he gets cheered loudly. David throws really bad chops. Flair yells at Crowbar as I think we’re in a comedy squash here. Yes, the tag team champions are being destroyed here. Baseball slide takes the champions out as the champions have had no offense. This is a triple threat remember. Why it’s not a handicap match is beyond me.

Crowbar FINALLY gets something going with a sommersault plancha to hit both guys. Frog splash off the apron to Vampiro and Crowbar is hurt again. German suplex by Crowbar sets up a slingshot legdrop for two. Crowd is very hot here. David is just kind of watching which is good for the fans as David absolutely sucked. Vampiro gets a superplex for two. The split screen is even bad as there’s a big logo and the name of the show everywhere so you can’t see anything on the screens.

Flair is actually doing stuff now and it’s just bad. A vertical suplex is an accomplishment for him. Vampiro tries to counter a powerbomb into an X Factor and it’s completely botched, leading to a “You F’D up chant”. Rock Bottom by Vampiro gets two as Flair saves. Daffney is looking good here. Crowbar gets a splash and Flair puts on a weak figure four. Daffney comes in for no apparent reason and the champions fight. Flair is sent into Daffney and the Nail in the Coffin (Michinoku Driver) ends Flair. Big old pop for that.

Rating: D. This was awful as you would expect. David Flair was absolutely terrible but he was on TV for the reason of whose testicles he came from. Anyway, this was terrible but the high spots helped a bit and Daffney looking good is never a bad thing. They would lose the titles in a week or so.

Buff Bagwell is here.

The Mamalukes, the Mafia group that sucked completely, say they can beat the Harris Brothers.

Mamalukes vs. Harris Boys

Disco Inferno is with the Italians here. Johnny the Bull starts with let’s say Ron (The Harris Boys are identical twins. The other is Don) and Johnny (his partner is Big Vito) is in trouble early. The Italians clean the ring and I think they’re the faces, but does it really matter? Off to Vito now who takes Ron down with ease. Big kick as Disco doesn’t want to be here but is being forced by some Mafia dude.

All Italians so far. Bull comes in and some heel cheating lets them take over. Side slam by Ron and it’s off to Don. Off to a chinlock for a second as Johnny gets a clothesline. Never mind on the comeback apparently as it’s back off to Don’s control. The problem here is that the Harris Brothers use regular offense instead of big power man offense. The crowd is almost completely dead here.

Vito comes in off a blind tag but is forced back out. I’m trying to like this show, I truly am. It’s just not happening. Vito wants Disco to get involved which isn’t happening at all. Ron is in the wrong corner for some reason. The Harris guys can’t do a thing and it’s obvious. Vito comes in and everything breaks down. Disco finally does something as he tries to cost the Italians the match but instead it gives them the win as he shoves Vito into a flying clothesline on Ron for the pin. What a mess.

Rating: D. Well at least it wasn’t incredibly long. The Harris guys are boring as this biker thing never went anywhere but with their size they obviously had a job almost guaranteed. The Disco vs. the Mafia thing was terrible and just kind of ended with no resolution but it’s not like it mattered. Mafia gimmicks go nowhere and this was no exception.

Cruiserweight Title: Madusa vs. Oklahoma

Oklahoma is the parody character of JR played by Ed Ferrara. He weighs about 300lbs and is trying to win the Cruiserweight Title tonight from Madusa, the female champion. He runs his mouth against women and against Ohio in general. Oh and he has the belt itself. Madusa has some Nitro Girl with her.

Madusa knows martial arts and a German suplex. Oklahoma isn’t a wrestler but throws her by the hair a bit. Madusa gets a pair of “dropkicks” off the middle rope but gets caught in a DDT. He goes for his bottle of barbecue sauce (yes just go with it) but the Nitro Girl (Spice) and the Chyna ripoff named Asya stop him. He pulls the loincloth she’s wearing over her bikini bottom and pins her to win the title. I give up. Too short to rate again, thank goodness. The girls pour barbecue sauce down his tights.

Brian Knobbs, the Hardcore Champion, says Fit Finlay deserves the credit for his title win.

Brian Knobbs vs. Meng vs. Norman Smiley vs. Fit Finlay

This is called Four the Hard Way but it’s really just a fatal fourway. This is during the Smiley is scared of hardcore matches period. Knobbs and Finlay are dressed alike as the idea here is that Finlay trained him to be a hardcore guy. Yes, Brian Knobbs is a champion in the year 2000. Smiley tries a trashcan shot to Meng’s head which fails miserably.

It’s one of those hardcore matches that you’ve seen a few million times in WCW as it’s not incredibly interesting but they’re kind of entertaining for the sake of being what they are. Everyone beats up Norman and nothing hurts Meng, namely due to that big thing of hair. Here’s a table and some bad chair shots. Finlay and Smiley go into the crowd which lasts about four seconds. This is one of those matches that needs to end. Knobbs is out mostly so Smiley goes near him. Smiley gets hit with his own riot shield and this is finally over.

Rating: D-. I mean dude, what do you want me to say here? It’s a hardcore match. Like I said, if you’ve seen one of these you’ve seen a million of them since there isn’t anything different about any of them for the most part. The title never died of course as WCW kept this joke up for another YEAR. They never learned at all.

Billy Kidman vs. Perry Saturn

This is a Bunkhouse match, meaning hardcore. At least Kidman’s music is kind of catchy. Saturn is freaking stacked as far as muscles go. Perry stomps away to start and gets a clothesline to take Kidman down. Big press slam as this is a regular match so far. Kidman fights back with speed and punches in the corner. Clothesline gets two. He tries a running headlock takeover out of the corner but gets crotched on the top rope and clotheslined to the floor. That gets two on the floor.

Back in the ring and Saturn does something to Kidman’s neck but gets rolled up for two. This is painfully boring. Springboard legdrop gets two for Saturn. Kidman’s shirt is ripped off and we FINALLY get to a weapon, in this case, a table which is laid face down on the floor instead of being set up in the ring. Ah there it is. Heenan: “Tony we could make a fortune in a table company.” Mike: “Heenan if you’re involved the only thing it’ll be is under the table.” That was good. Where is this funny Mike every other show?

The table is on the floor but Saturn can’t suplex onto him. Saturn gets an elbow from the top rope for no cover so Kidman grabs a sunset flip for two. Diving powerbomb gets two as does a Sky High from Kidman. Saturn throws Kidman over the top and through the table which gets two. It looked great if nothing else. Saturn tries a powerbomb from the top but gets backdropped instead. Out of NOWHERE Saturn tries another powerbomb (does he get paid per powerbomb?) but gets dropped in a facejam for the pin. This was Saturn’s last match in WCW.

Rating: D+. I’m starting to feel bad for giving these matches such low grades. They’re not really that terrible but they’re just so painfully uninteresting. I’m flying through this show and I’ve yet to see anything worth watching in it. Every one of the six matches so far range from just kind of there to completely uninteresting. There were some cool spots here and I like Saturn so I guess you could call this the match of the night so far….somehow.

Stevie Ray talks to some homeless people. Uh…ok? He talks about Booker T and says that he’s the one from the streets, not Booker. The homeless people like him apparently. Stevie goes to a barber shop where the barber wants to know why Booker never comes around anymore. I’d assume Stevie can’t read the street signs to get there anymore but that’s just me.

Stevie, in the arena now, says he’ll teach Booker a lesson.

Booker T vs. Stevie Ray

Booker is in suspenders and has this overly large woman with him named Midnight. Booker sends Midnight to the back before the bell. So the point of his quick thing about how she watches his back now was…? Booker hammers away and gets the side kick to take Stevie down. The referee is on the apron for some reason. Spinning forearm gets two for Booker but he runs into an elbow and then a clothesline to send him to the floor.

Stevie’s offense more or less fails completely and it’s off to Booker again. Back in we go and Booker hammers away. Booker runs into a powerslam and we hit the chinlock by Stevie. Elbow drop gets two on Booker. Stevie tries a backdrop and we cut away to the fans for no apparent reason. Why in the world would you do that?

Stevie’s finisher, the Slap Jack (elevated Pedigree) is countered and Booker fires off some kicks. There’s the axe kick and it’s not quite Spinarooni time. He tries the twisting sunset flip out of the corner but botches it a bit. Book End puts Stevie down but Ahmed Freaking Johnson wobbles in (muscular as all get out but with a gut the size of Cleveland) to beat up Booker for the DQ. Pearl River Plunge kills Booker and Midnight comes out to do nothing of note. His name is Big T and this is the new Harlem Heat apparently.

Rating: D. Oh dear this was bad again. Booker did what he could but he was no miracle worker. Stevie was never anything good or even passable so of course he kept getting more and more TV time and more and more pushes. Johnson was gone rather soon and no one cared.

Sid said he’s awesome and Benoit is his friend but he’ll win the title tonight despite what the NWO wants.

Tank Abbot vs. Jerry Flynn

Not Lynn, but Flynn, a karate guy. Abbot is a former UFC Champion and this is an alleged shoot fight. They trade some submission stuff for about 90 seconds and then it ends. You figure out what happens after about 1:40 when an amateur karate guy meets a legit pro fighter in a shoot fight.

We recap DDP vs. Buff Bagwell. Allegedly Buff was sleeping with Page’s wife so Page made gay jokes. Buff says if not for Page he’d date Kimberly. They traded small penis jokes and Buff implied Kimberly slept with everyone in the locker room.

Diamond Dallas Page vs. Buff Bagwell

This is last man standing. Buff is the face here…I think. They slug it out with Buff taking over early as we head outside. They’re in the crowd already and fight in the tarped off seats. Nice job of hiding things there guys. Back to ringside now with Page hammering away and calling spots VERY loudly. Neckbreaker gets no count but Bagwell’s gets….no count either.

They head out to the floor as this isn’t much at all here. Up the aisle we go and both guys are rammed into the railing. Stereo punches put both guys down and we head to the WCW.com location. They slam the monitors against each other and Tony laughs for some reason. DDP is put on the WCW.com table and Bagwell drops an elbow through him. The referee doesn’t count at all which makes me think the rules in this are different somehow.

Back in the ring and Bagwell gets a low blow to take over. Uh I mean continue his advantage. This is getting annoying quickly. Page no sells everything for the most part and crotches him against the post. Both guys go down as it’s kind of hard to tell who the fans like here. They’re both up at 8 and they’re down again maybe 2 seconds later.

Back up at eight and Buff hammers away. DDT hits and both guys lay down after it. The fans are counting with them which is kind of cool for some reason. Buff calls for the Blockbuster and hits most of it. Page is up at nine and Bagwell has a riot baton or something like that. Diamond Cutter out of nowhere but Bagwell gets up first and wins it. Huh?

Rating: D+. Weird ending here as they claimed Buff blocked part of the move but it was pretty clear he didn’t at all. Not a terrible match but it didn’t feel like it needed the gimmick at all. The crowd was weird on this one too and it’s pretty easy to see why. Not bad but nothing good for the most part.

Kimberly comes down post match and looks all sad. Page beats Buff down and leaves with her while she still looks all sad.

Buff lost a boot in there somehow. Ok then.

Billy Kidman vs. ???

This is in a cage called Caged Heat, which means Hell in a Cell. Shane Douglas of the Revolution comes out to talk about how awesome the Revolution is and introduces the mystery guy. And it’s the Wall, a guy that has nothing to do with the Revolution until tonight. This is when Wall was still a total destroyer. Kidman finds a chair under the ring and cracks him with a chair to start.

So let me make sure I have this straight. A guy is thrown into the card to face a guy that joined a stable he was feuding with and I think a one day notice and is in the Cell with him. Got it. Standard small man vs. monster here with Wall taking him down with a big boot. Kidman is rammed back first into the cage and it’s all big man. Kidman gets a sunset bomb off the middle rope for two. He goes up, jumps into a chokeslam and we’re done. Five minute match in the Cell. I give up.

Rating: F. Not only was it a bad match, it was a bad match in the Hell in a Cell cage! I mean people, why in the world would you use that? If you’re going to change one match, change the rest too. Why is that so hard? Terrible match and a terrible ending to this three match system thing.

We recap Nash vs. Funk which is more or less NWO vs. Funk. Yes, Funk was arguably the top face at this point. They’re fighting for power here.

Terry Funk vs. Kevin Nash

The winner is the Commissioner, which Funk is at this point. If Nash loses then the NWO disbands. Funk’s music sounds like Demolition’s for a few seconds. The brawl starts in the aisle as this is a hardcore match. Chair to the back of Funk as it’s all Nash to start us off. There’s a Jackknife through the table less than two minutes in. You would think that would end it, but Nash wants to talk.

He says that if Funk can crawl back into the ring, Funk can still be Commissioner. Funk gets in and Nash says that he’s a lying SOB so the fight goes on. We only have Tony on commentary. Funk is busted open so we go to a wide shot. He gets a chair and cracks Nash a few times with it and adds a DDT for two. The people are booing the heck out of Funk here. But hey, he was a world champion 23 years ago! And some of the fans were alive then so he must be worthy of giving a big push to!

Nash cracks him in the head multiple times with the chair and Funk no sells them to beat on Nash even more. Funk sets up multiple chairs for absolutely no apparent reason. And of course he gets powerbombed through them and Nash becomes Commissioner as the man in his late 50s is probably crippled. Don’t you love WCW?

Rating: D. This was short and had a lot of Funk either no selling or not moving. The fans flat out didn’t buy Funk as the big face he was supposed to be but WCW kept going with it anyway because they had decided that they knew what the fans wanted to see instead of what the fans told them they wanted to see.

Arn Anderson doesn’t like that Nash has the Commissioner spot now. However he doesn’t have power until Midnight so the world title match has nothing to do with Nash. Anderson stumbles over his words so you can tell he’s either messed up or bored. This is still talking about the NWO vs. WCW. Are you kidding me? Arn is the referee for the main event which made sense in storyline for Bret vs. Goldberg but not here.

WCW World Title: Sid Vicious vs. Chris Benoit

Sid beat Benoit for the US Title at Fall Brawl in a joke of a match that we need to get to later. Sid is pushed as the face here because Benoit was part of the Revolution, a heel group, even though he’s the more popular guy here. After some big match intros we’re ready to go. Buffer calling Bischoff the #2 ranked contender in the world makes him sound a bit weak.

Now Arn gives instructions. Get on with it already. They feel each other to start and that’s more or less a stalemate. Some guys like Saturn and David Flair come out to watch. Sid sends him to the floor as more and more come out. The fans chant for Sid so he press slams Benoit with ease. Benoit goes to the knee and the fans cheer. Not sure who they’re behind here but I think it’s Sid more than Benoit for the most part.

Benoit dropkicks the steps into the knee into the post and then does it again. Back in the ring and Benoit puts on a kind of bad figure four. Sid taps his hand (which is funny as he tapped the mat to get the fans behind him in the Fall Brawl match which had to be ignored for the sake of the ending) to try to get some momentum going here and he powers out of it.

Sid is on his knees in the middle of the ring and Benoit adds a dropkick to the head. We hear the bull about the belt being around since 1905 as Benoit hits a dragon screw leg whip for two. Benoit throws on a bridging Indian Deathlock with a chinlock (Benoit is in what looks like a Matrix Move and Sid is on his stomach and Benoit pulls up on his chin. Looks awesome) and kicks Sid to the floor.

Sid Sids Up but a dropkick to the knee takes him right back down. Rolling Germans as I can feel the hackers breaking into Angle’s Twitter even though Twitter didn’t exist yet. Sid takes him down with a powerslam for two but gets caught in an ankle hook. Another German and the sign for the Swan Dive gets a BIG pop so Sid launches Benoit off to make the finishers look weak.

Chokeslam out of nowhere puts Benoit down but Sid is too weakened to do anything now. Benoit’s foot is under the ropes so that only gets two for Sid. Remember that as it becomes important later. Benoit puts the Crossface on and Sid taps to give Benoit the champion. Sid’s foot was under the rope which would become important later.

Rating: B-. This was by far the match of the night but Sid’s eternally questionable selling comes into play again here. A good thing though was that he tapped immediately, but the channeling of his inner big bald Irish dude with orange skin got old. Anyway, Benoit wins the title finally, albeit as a heel and as the fourth or fifth option but who cares?

Benoit thanks Sid for having a hard fight and talks about the Dynamite Kid and how people criticized him forever but tonight he’s proven them wrong. Arn says Benoit is awesome. Nash pops up to say he’s going to make Benoit’s life a living nightmare because that’s the NWO’s belt. Benoit says bring it on.

And of course none of this matters because Benoit stuck to his principles and left WCW, knowing that this was just an appeasement because he was walking no matter what. The title would be fought over by Sid and Nash while Benoit would debut in WCW and win the Intercontinental Title at Wrestlemania 16 before 4 years (and one year off for neck surgery) later, winning the world title in the main event of Wrestlemania while Nash is just kind of hanging around. Anyway, this is the famed Benoit WCW Title win and that’s about all of his reign.

Overall Rating: D. It’s 2000 WCW. Why would you expect a good show here? This is a show that actually benefits from the lack of context which is a weird thing to say. It took me awhile to sit through this because the matches weren’t that interesting and the feuds were rather idiotic indeed. Not much was going on at this show, namely because everything got all switched up because of injuries. Bad show overall but the main event isn’t terrible and the historical aspects of this show are really big, given what happened two weeks later. Avoid it of course though.
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1 comment

  1. this was the beginning of the end of WCW As we know it chris dean perry and eddie 2 weeks later were in wwf/wwe and the wcw company began like a bad nightmare titanic dream it was sinking and taking in so much water at this time it was hard to say who to blame but i blame a lot of people including Vince russo he thought he was going to make wcw crash wwf tv when he arrived big mistake and as a result u saw what happened here this was just a bad show in the end only one match stood out if u want to call it that and that was sid vs benoit other then that a very weak lineup and some bad wrestling all told i am surprised they got a good crowd at this show in cincinnati we all saw what happened the following night benoit throws the title away and as a result he and the radicals leave soon for the WWF